Summary: This series covers five topics in raising children so that they develop a relationship with Jesus. A helpful acrostice for FAITH - Faithfulness, Accountability, Integrity, Truth, and Hope.
Building a Culture of FAITH in the Family – Part Three
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday Evening, July 11th, 2010
Pastor Daniel Darling
Tonight we’re continuing our series Building a Culture of FAITH in the Family. We have developed the acrostic FAITH to represent each of the core values.
So far we’ve discussed Faithfulness—The responsibility of a parent to be faithful to God’s call. Then in the last message we discussed Accountability—How structure and boundaries help shape children for life.
Today we’re continuing on with Integrity – Teaching Character.
Henry Clay said, “Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.”
John Stott said, “What we are governs how we think, and how we think determines how we act.”
William R. Allen said, “Certainly it is a world of scarcity. But the scarcity is not confined to iron ore and arable land. The most constricting scarcities are those of character and personality.”
Nobody will doubt that character and integrity are in short supply today. I recently visited the new Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield. The most moving part is the White House years exhibit, where you are visually moved through some of the toughest years in our nation’s history, where the fate of our nation hung in the balance. And largely we survived that period, because of the integrity and character of Lincoln, who often made tough decisions alone, with many voices in his head.
I recently heard an interview with an author of a new book about George Washington. I’ve read quite a bit about Washington. And largely our greatness as a country, I think is because of this man’s character. Everyone wanted to make him king and he said, “No, I won’t be king. I didn’t defeat a king to be a king.” He would only serve two terms and set a powerful precedent for Presidents.
I recently heard Pat Williams, one of the most inspirational leaders, he said something that often happens with leaders, “Leaders begin to “inhale” all that good stuff – good pay, parking privileges, golf club memberships—and believe that by divine right, this is all mine and that sets them up for a fall.”
Clearly, you don’t have to look far to know that in our country, character and integrity are in short supply. For many years, as a country we mocked those who stood up for family values and character as if they were old-fashioned. We said things like, “Hey, it’s the economy, stupid.” But sooner or later those values catch up to the economy.
We’ve raised entire generations on the idea that truth is relative and integrity doesn’t matter. Now they are leading our institutions. And we wonder why they take the money, the perks, and the benefits and hurt those they are called to serve.
We have a character deficit in this country.
The Importance of Character – Frustrated Kids
Well. the Bible teaches that character begins in the home. We can whine and rail against the sin and lack of character in the home, but as Christians, we are helping to shape society, one family at a time.
I want you to turn to a familiar passage in the New Testament.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first Commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:2-4 (ESV)
We want to teach our children to live with a sense of honor and character. But notice what it says to fathers. I think this could be applied to both parents. Notice the two effects of parenting?
1) You can provoke or frustrate to anger.
2) You can bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Now we won’t exegete these two, but in the context of integrity, I believe this is saying that parents have a choice.
They can either leave a scar or make a mark on their children’s lives. We know that ultimately, a child’s decisions are up to him. But the environment a parent fosters goes a long way toward developing their character.
What is Character?
Parents, are you making a mark or leaving a scar? See, what we’re talking about tonight when we think of integrity—it is authenticity, reality, character.
I don’t want you to misunderstand. What we’re discussing here is not self-righteousness, legalism, or Phariseeism. This is such an important point. I want you to turn to Matthew Chapter 15 and read the words of Jesus:
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
“Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”